Garofalo on 24, Will Jack Survive?

FOX’s 24, one of the best shows on television is undergoing a revamp. The show is an action/drama set in real-time, about government agent Jack Bauer, played by Kiefer Sutherland, and his trials to avert disaster in twenty-four hours. The series is critically acclaimed and extremely popular for pacing, ability to weave together subplots and its “take no prisoners” attitude towards action.

However, this past year during its sixth season . Therefore, the seventh season will shift its focus from the fight against global terrorism to a more a personal conflict for the main character. And with the new focus comes some new members to the cast, most notably in outspoken liberal Janeane Garofalo as an FBI agent.

As someone who has watched 24 since the beginning, the new direction intrigues me. Sometimes a change of direction is needed to keep a show fresh and it will be interesting to see Jack deal with a personal conflict especially if it’s a figure from his past that has come to kill him. However if the show turns into the final years of The Sopranos with Jack sitting on the lake rather than taking terrorists out, I might go “Jack Bauer” on the studio. Which brings me to the addition of Garofalo.

I do not like Janeane Garofalo. I do not find her funny or intelligent. I think she’s smug and condescending (did I mention unfunny?). Her addition to the cast of 24 also makes me very concerned that she is going to try to bring her politics to the show. Garofalo has been a vocal critic of the Bush Administration, which is fine, while 24 is a show about fighting terrorism.

Often on the show Jack Bauer resorts to measures like torture that while exciting to watch, would violate the Geneva Convention. As a result many people have criticized the show for its depiction of violence and torture. My fear is that Garofalo’s character is going to be used to tame Jack and make him more “sensitive” and reduce the intensity of the action that is the main draw of the show.

I abhor violence in real life, but on television I could care less. I watch 24 because it is an intense show that pulls no punches and isn’t afraid to cross lines. It’s edgy, innovative, storytelling. Something you don’t see a lot of in entertainment nowadays. If you take away that edge you lose the appeal. So if Ms. Garofalo’s character makes sense for the plot in the next season, I’ll be cool with her. If it’s just a soapbox for her political beliefs, well, I won’t mourn when she gets blown up.

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